News Column

Marrone Bio sees year-over-year drop in revenue; company's COO leaving

August 7, 2014

By Mark Glover, The Sacramento Bee



Aug. 07--Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. has more reason than most to curse at bad weather.

The provider of eco-friendly pest management and plant health products on Thursday said adverse weather conditions in key growing regions of the U.S. hurt its financial performance in the quarter that ended June 30. Second-quarter revenue totaled $3.6 million, compared with $4.5 million in the second quarter of 2013. First-quarter revenue was $2.8 million.

In its quarterly financial report, CEO Pam Marrone said she believes "momentum will build in the second half (of this year) as our bio-based agricultural products" are more widely applied in the agriculture industry.

Also on Thursday, Marrone Bio announced that Hector Absi, the company's chief operating officer, has submitted his resignation for personal reasons, effective Aug. 22. A brief release by the Davis firm did not elaborate but said Absi will "remain with the company as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition. Efforts to initiate a search for a successor are underway."

The company said in its quarterly report that it was "unable to give annual guidance at this time," citing the effects of adverse weather and Absi's resignation announcement.

Marrone Bio's net loss for the second quarter was $10.4 million, compared with $10.2 million in the first quarter of 2014. Last year, Marrone Bio lost nearly $28.5 million for the full year, compared with a loss of about $38.8 million in 2012.

The company's sizable net losses have been generally acknowledged as part of the normal course of a business working to obtain regulatory approvals, nationally and internationally, for bio-based products.

In Thursday's report, the company cited increased adoption of its Venerate product, which sold out all available inventory in the second quarter. Venerate, an insecticide the company says controls a broad spectrum of pests affecting a number of crops, received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year.

In July, Marrone said the EPA approved its Zequanox product to combat invasive mussels in lakes, rivers and other waterways. Zequanox is composed of dead cells from a naturally occurring soil microbe and is considered a more environmentally-friendly option than traditional use of potash and copper-based products.

The company also noted that it obtained a $10 million loan guarantee this year to expand its Michigan factory.

Last August, Marrone completed the Sacramento region's first initial public stock offering since 2006, raising $57 million. Since then, it has focused on boosting revenue, building its financial standing and getting regulatory approvals of its products.

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Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)


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